When I first heard that dandelion root is used as a coffee substitute, I immediately ruled it out as something I wanted or needed in my life. Because y’all, I. AM. NOT. breaking up with coffee. And yet, as I dug deeper into the benefits of dandelion flowers, leaves, and roots, I realized that there’s way more to dandelion tea than its use as a coffee substitute.
In Persian, dandelion is called the “small postman” because it is thought to bring good news. (source) It’s one of the first flowers that pops up in spring, and it stays with us all through the summer. That makes it one of the easiest plants to harvest and use – which is awesome because it has lots of uses!
This rich, creamy dandelion root tea is so delicious that I always make a double batch – one cup for me, and one to replace that cup when my littles steal it. 🙂
So, what is dandelion tea used for?
Tea made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves is often used to strengthen digestion and as a diuretic to help the body let go of excess water. We’ll cover how to make it in an upcoming post.
In this recipe we’ll be using the roots, which are helpful for balancing hormones and detoxification. They also have anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of taraxasterols, and are rich in minerals (iron, manganese, calcium, potassium) and nutritive compounds such as carotenes. (source)
In traditional herbal medicine, dandelion root is used to help get things moving in cases of mild constipation. Un-roasted roots are also known to be rich in the gut-nourishing prebiotic inulin, and although roasting reduces the amount there is still a significant amount in this tea. Hot water and a little time is the best way to extract inulin, which is just another reason to love this recipe. (source)
Where do I get dandelion root?
You can buy dandelion root – which is very affordable – here. Or you can use roots you’ve gathered as long as they are from an area that has not been sprayed with pesticides. Here’s how to properly identify dandelions. You will need to scrub, chop and dry them out before using them, though. I typically put mine in my dehydrator at 95°F for about 12 hours, but you can also just lay them on a towel in a dry, cool area until they’re brittle.
How do you roast dandelion root?
Although you may be imagining that it’s similar to the somewhat daunting process of artisanal coffee roasting, it actually couldn’t be easier. All you do is throw some dried roots in a pan over medium-high heat and stir until they become golden brown and fragrant. Yep, that’s it.
How do you make dandelion coffee?
If you’re wanting a dandelion coffee recipe instead of a dandelion tea recipe, you’re in luck. . . they’re exactly the same thing. 🙂 For whatever reason, dandelion tea is reminiscent of regular coffee and that’s why it’s sometimes called dandelion coffee. It’s a hard connection to explain until you’ve tried it. If you’ve ever had a friend that reminds you of someone else, and yet you can’t put your finger on why, it’s basically like that. Now, on to the recipe!
Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Recipe
- 1 tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons dried dandelion root (where to buy dandelion root if you can't find it locally)
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons butter or cream to taste (optional)
- Optional additions - 1 cinnamon stick OR 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger OR 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger. OR vanilla extract to taste (or a combination of these!)
- Place a medium pot over medium heat and place the dried dandelion root in the bottom. Toast the root until it becomes fragrant and golden brown, then add water and additional flavorings (if using) and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, then strain and serve. I like to blend in a little maple syrup and a tablespoon of butter, but it's also good with cream and a bit of vanilla extract.
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